There’s a photo of Arloine “Toots” Morris, grandmother of 11, great-grandmother of 17, decked out in her blaze orange hunting gear near the start of deer season on the back of a small ATV with her husband of 70 years.
Morris loved the outdoors and surrounded herself with family. She was an avid gardener, angler and hunter who would often take her family camping and traveling in their motor home. She also loved to quilt. She made large quilts, small quilts, baby quilts. She made a quilt after each one of her five kids was born, and then for each of their kids, and each of their kids’ kids.
“She would get any scrap material and make them for us,” said Jody Scott, her daughter. “I figure she has over 100 quilts here now.”
Morris, 89, died April 2 of COVID-19. She was one of the first victims of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota. She showed very few symptoms at her home in Ceylon, Minn., Scott said. She had just returned home from a nursing home, seemingly healthy after recovering from other ailments. Her family was worried she had a more minor infection when they took her to a hospital, where she tested positive.
The severity of the virus as it spread within the family seemed random, Scott said.
Scott later tested positive, too, and was sick in bed for days before recovering. Meanwhile, Morris’ husband, Jim, got it and developed only a low-grade cough.
The family will hold a service at a later date because of the virus.
Morris lived in south central Minnesota all her life. She was born in Welcome, and graduated from Sherburn High School a few years after the end of World War II.
Not long after she married Jim, they built their home in Ceylon, 10 miles from Welcome, where they raised their kids and lived together for more than 60 years.
She worked a number of jobs over the years, at the Fairmont Canning Co., at Terfehr Manufacturing in Ceylon, and at Simpsons Café. But eventually she started driving the school bus in Ceylon.
“That was her last job and her favorite job,” Scott said. “I think she loved being with the kids.”
She is survived by her husband and four of her children: Roger, Daryl and Ron Morris and Jody Scott. She was preceded in death by her son Jerry.